October 2013 | 

Chart Your Career Path: Earn Wharton’s Certificate of Professional Development


Over 400 executives from around the globe have created a unique competitive advantage by earning Wharton’s Certificate of Professional Development (CPD), including C-suite leaders, marketing managers, sales directors, vice presidents, surgeons, and philanthropists. Wharton@Work recently sat down with Wharton Executive Education Director Megan O’Malley to learn about the new features, and continuing benefits, of this career-enhancing program.

Wharton@Work: Why would an executive consider earning a CPD?

Megan O’Malley: For some, it is a desire to ramp up and update their skills. They might be at the midpoint in their career and are getting ready for a more senior position. Or they are in the early stages and want a competitive edge. Many of those who earned a CPD started by attending one program and realized the benefits and wanted to come back for more.

W@W: What were some of those benefits?

MO: Well, we are Wharton, which means we have the most published business school faculty in the world. They are experts in their field, and are doing cutting-edge research and consulting with businesses around the world. And we attract an international group of executives; it’s typical to have a classroom with fewer than half of the participants from the United States. They all face many of the same challenges, and by learning and living in one place, they create a global peer group that extends beyond the experience on campus.

W@W: What are the new CPD specialized learning tracks?

MO: There are four tracks which are designed to help develop specialized skill sets: finance, leadership, general management, and negotiation. All of the tracks include a selection of rigorous core courses and electives. Participants have up to six years to complete a total of four programs.

For example, for the Finance track, the core programs are Finance and Accounting for the Non-Financial Manager and Integrating Finance and Strategy for Value Creation. Then there are four electives, from which participants choose two: Investment Strategies and Portfolio Management, Wharton Marketing Metrics: Linking Marketing to Financial Consequences, Mergers and Acquisitions, and Pricing Strategies: Measuring, Capturing, and Retaining Value.

W@W: Do you have to choose one of these tracks, or can you also design your own program?

MO: Designing your own CPD is still an option. You can choose any four of our executive education programs, which vary from four days to five weeks, and complete them in up to six years.

W@W: Are there new benefits for CPD holders?

MO: Yes. Many of those who earned their CPD told us they wanted to keep coming back. They are lifelong learners. So now we offer a 20 percent lifetime discount on all Wharton Executive Education programs that are three days or more in length. You also become a member of Wharton’s exclusive CPD Circle, with name, company, and photograph published on our website; a complimentary subscription to Wharton Magazine; and a one-time ten percent program discount for a colleague referred to a Wharton Executive Education open enrollment program.

W@W: Is pursuing a CPD disruptive to your career? How much time does it take to earn the Certificate?

MO: Most programs are a week long or less, and you have up to six years to complete four. It’s a very flexible way to continue your education — and you aren’t locked into semester deadlines or have to spend weeks away from your office.